When Alicia Silverstone starred as Cher Horowitz, the plaid-wearing, fashion-loving teenager, in 1994’s “Clueless,” she was immediately catapulted to ’90s It-girl fame. But with it came its own problems. In an interview with Glamour, the now-41-year-old actress opened up about being sexualized as a teenager and how she dealt with men who both sexualized and criticized her body.
The actress, who can currently be seen on Paramount Network’s “American Woman,” recalled an interview when she was a teenager where the reporter asked her about her bra size. “I remember being at a roundtable and some interviewer asked me what my bra size was. I was like, a little girl, and I just thought: That’s not OK!” Silverstone said.
Silverstone suggested that that experience was emblematic of how men treated her as a young actress, even years before the premiere of “Clueless.” “I would sit there, and people would sexualize me, and part of me was like: Is it my fault? Am I doing it? And I’m 15, and 16, and 17. I must be doing something! But I’m not trying to. I’m not doing anything,” Silverstone said.
Along with being sexualized for her body, Silverstone also opened up about the body-shaming she faced after she starred in 1997’s “Batman & Robin” and was offensively nicknamed “Fatgirl” for her natural weight gain. “I’m a pretty tough cookie,” Silverstone said. “I never took it too seriously because I thought everyone was so ridiculous, because I did think it was very shallow. I knew there were bigger, more important things.”
As for how the entertainment industry has changed since the ’90s, Silverstone suggested that, in many ways, it has stayed the same, with predators and protecters still existing. “When I was 15, there were people that were good and there were people that did naughty things,” Silverstone said. “You have to navigate: There are people who do naughty things now, and people who are good now—I don’t personally feel like I can track [change] that way.”
And though Silverstone is a huge supporter of Hollywood’s fight against sexual harassers, she also highlighted that there are many forms of abuse that are still not spoken about. “There’s all kinds of abuse, where people are very unkind and get away with a lot, and I don’t think that’s acceptable either—whether you’re male or female,” Silverstone said. “In every space where there’s some dick running the show, causing friction, everyone should come together and say, ‘No, you cannot behave this way!’”
It might be 20-plus years since “Clueless” premiered, but Alicia Silverstone is still our hero.